Saturday, November 12, 2005

A WEEK WITH STEPHEN D. LONG- day 6


STEVE ON UNITY AND HOLINESS:
One of the places from which the term 'heart religion' emerges in Wesley's thought is his sermon "Catholic Spirit." The phrase "if your heart is as my heart then give me your hand" is often quoted out of context to imply Wesley set a religion of the heart against Christian doctrine."

Wesley is discussing different worship styles — how one administers the Lord's Supper and baptism and how these are the cause of division in the various churches (although he was clear that Methodists should have a common and uniform way of doing this which was in the Discipline up through the mid-twentieth century.) He simply recognized the legitimacy of other traditions doing it differently.

Then he asks, "My only question at present is this, 'Is thine heart right, as my heart is with thy heart." (p. 87). This is often used to argue Wesley was more concerned with the state of one's heart than with matters such as doctrine or worship. But he then goes on to explain what is meant by a "right heart" and he says, "But what is properly implied in the question? . . . . The first thing implied is this: Is thy heart right with God? Dost thou believe his being and his perfections? His eternity, immensity, wisdom, power; his justice mercy and truth."

Note that his first response to this question implies proper "belief" which is a doctrinal matter. He then says "Dost thou believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, 'God over all, blessed for ever?"

Note the second thing implied in this "heart religion" is a belief in Jesus' divinity.

Then he asks thirdly, "Is they faith filled with the energy of love?"

Fourth — "Art thou employed in doing 'not thy own will, but the will of him that sent thee'?

Fifth — "Does the love of God constrain thee to 'serve' him 'with fear'?

Sixth — "Is thy heart right toward they neighbor?"

Seventh — "Do you show your love by your works?"

These are the seven questions Wesley says constitute "having the same heart." And then he says, "If it be, give me thine hand." Some wrongly interpret this as an indifference toward doctrinal issues.

2 comments:

see-through faith said...

ooh loved this . thanks

Zoomdaddy said...

hear hear!!!!

(BTW, I love the random word verification, today I am nvdorq. Somehow they have identified me with some other dorks in Las Vegas, maybe it's time for me to go there.)